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Over the past several years, many (not all) of the EU nations have signed an agreement called the “Schengen Convention" which is scarcely known in the U.S. One of the less prominent articles in the Convention is a requirement that persons seeking an entry visa to a signatory country must have adequate medical insurance of their own.
An entry visa will not be issued to anyone who does not provide the required proof of adequate medical insurance.
In other words, without much fanfare or publicity outside Europe, the Schengen countries have REJECTED the notion that their citizens are obligated to pay for medical expenses of foreign visitors - even legally-admitted foreign visitors – via their own nationalized health care systems.
The nationals of 134 countries are presently subject to this requirement - interestingly, not the U.S.
In case you wonder whether the Schengen insurance convention is actually enforced, I assure you that it is. In my most recent position I had responsibility for my company’s worldwide staff health benefits. My office was frequently called upon to to help foreign employees who at the last moment discovered they needed the prescribed Schengen benefits documentation in order to obtain a visa.
Some observers suggest it's likely that illegals would be mandated health insurance coverage under a universal U.S. health care program. I say, not so fast. I say it's at least 50-50 that the debate here will reach the same outcome as in the Schengen Conventions.
Of course, people who hold jobs and pay into a system have a plausible claim to benefit from the system. IMO such a claim is indisputable for people who are citizens, and for people who have legitimate green cards or work visas. It is much less clear whether people who are in this country illegally in the first place should be entitled to the same benefits.
None of this is easy stuff and IMO it is very unlikely that any easy answer will be found – rather the likelihood is that a raucous and divisive debate will ensue whose outcome is very much in doubt.
(1) The Schengen countries have REJECTED the notion that their citizens are obligated to pay for medical expenses of foreign visitors - even legally-admitted foreign visitors - via their own nationalized health care systems.
(2) The design of any U.S. governmental single-payer system must deal with the issue of health care costs for illegal aliens. When the debate over program design commences in earnest, there will likely be a strong and vocal faction advocating rules similar to Schengen.
(3) One possible outcome is that illegals would be mandated coverage under a universal U.S. health program. But I say it's at least 50-50 that the debate here will have the same outcome as Schengen.